Thursday, November 22, 2001

Retro heroes
“Within days of the [September 11] attack, studios were changing or shelving material in development, and by mid-October, film executives were still re-evaluating the scripts .
“It’s the action movie that may never recover. ‘The violent action genre will go away,’ says Miramax West Coast President Mark Gill. ‘It will probably be better in the long term. Films will be more like Hitchcock and less like an ‘80s shoot-‘em-up’
“The new and revised action picture, some Hollywood insiders believe, will more resemble those of the 1970s, when ‘The French Connection’ and ‘The Conversation’ reigned supreme. ‘We are going to move into a period where people are interested in a quieter form of heroism the kind we saw from Steve McQueen and Humphrey Bogart,’ says producer Chris Lee. ‘We saw that kind of quiet hero in the firefighters and police at the World Trade Center.’”
Beth Laski and Anita M. Busch, writing on “Total Recall,” in the December issue of Premiere

Fat, not funny
“The biggest problem facing America, today, isn’t terrorism or war or anthrax. It’s fat suits and the portrayal of fat women in society.
“At least, that’s the ridiculous sentiment of the National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance, a self-styled ‘civil rights’ group whining over a new hit movie, ‘Shallow Hal.’
“In the comedy Hal a guy who pursues only gorgeous, model-esque women gets hypnotized by real-life ‘inspirational-speaking’ guru, Tony Robbins, to see only the inner beauty in women. Thereafter, he sees fat and/or ugly women as beautiful, and falls for a morbidly obese woman that he sees as the thin, statuesque [Gwyneth] Paltrow.
“Fat-chick activists should appreciate this silly movie’s unrealistic message, far too sympathetic to the calorically-challenged. In real life, unlike Hal, most sane men would run faced with a 320-pound woman.
“Instead of appreciating the fictional bone thrown to them, fat activists protest the fat suit worn by Paltrow in the movie, as well as jokes involving huge food consumption and furniture that breaks under her weight.
“If they’re bothered by their treatment in ‘Shallow Hal’ and the rest of society, they should stop throwing their (considerable) weight around and lighten up figuratively, and in their figures.”
Debbie Schlussel, writing on “Fat chicks, lighten up!” writing in World Net Daily at

‘About six’
“Theodore Roosevelt had a great ‘story,’ as a present-day political consultant would put it: the rich, asthmatic princeling self-transformed into an ultramasculine war hero. To imagine that leaders of the past were simply larger souls than those of our time is usually just a seductive fantasy, but in Roosevelt’s case, it’s probably true.
“Once you get past his basic attractiveness, Roosevelt like the other great heroes of Republican Washington Lincoln and Churchill doesn’t really fit into modern politics. In some ways, he was farther to the left than just about anybody who holds elective office today; even Bernie Sanders and Paul Wellstone don’t discuss rich people and big corporations with the open hostility that Roosevelt did.
“At the same time, he was unabashedly an upper-class Victorian, who dressed in black tie for dinner even at his summer house. In matters of cultural tone such as the robust and evident pleasure he took in killing or his warnings about the danger of ‘race suicide’ he was farther to the right than any contemporary Republican politician.
“Roosevelt let it all hang out: one would be hard pressed to think of someone less concealed, or more flamboyantly expressive. (‘You must always remember that the President is about six,’ said one of his closest friends, a British diplomat named Cecil Spring Rice.)”
Nicholas Lemann, writing on “Pure Act,” in the Nov. 19 issue of the New Yorker

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